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The Royal Family

Opening a restaurant built on family recipes is bringing the Carlsons together. Paul Carlson, the restaurateur behind U Street’s Vinoteca, is gearing up to open The Royal in early June and everyone’s pitching in.


Many of the recipes on The Royal's menu feature family recipes reflective of Paul's mother's Colombian heritage in addition to international cultural influences acquired while globe-trotting for his father's foreign service career. We snapped them at a backyard BBQ Thursday, where we sampled dishes and drinks from the forthcoming LeDroit Park restaurant. Pictured: Ron, Katrina, Gloria and Paul Carlson.


Chef Lonnie Zoeller, who has been running the kitchen at Vinoteca, says cooking dishes with a Latin edge for The Royal is in his comfort zone. “My wife’s from Colombia—I actually met her through working at Vinoteca,” he tells us in between grilling everything from avocados to squid and steak. When The Royal opens, expect an all-day casual escape made cozy by a wood-burning grill. They’ll serve breakfast, strong coffee from Counter Culture, all day bites, and dinner backed by a creative cocktail program including house-made vermouth on draft.